tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 25, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT
they will create even more disenfranchised communities. i don't buy the line that there is one route out of syria and it is called turkey. there are plenty of ways that they can get out. and isis will not be deterred. host: what do you think? michael: i think that is clear. it is absolutely clear. pass out.o one as we analyze this, we have to be thinking about, dealing with the refugee crisis in a way that is -- if you have seen the level of description -- of destruction that we have seen, rubble -- these refugees have nowhere to go. i was recently in jordan and it is a refugee camp. it is a humanitarian crisis on a scale that we haven't seen since the second world war. and it is mostly women and children fleeing destruction.
isis is a predator on that human misery and they will continue to do that. especially in europe. we have to be thinking much more long-term, unfortunately, about how to deal with the masses, the scale of the refugee crisis, and confront that. because what we end up with is a bunch of refugee camps where kids have been out of school for 10 years. there is no prospect for your children to have a better life. we are creating a situation in which isis can have an easier time radicalizing communities. host: what about the recently struck deal between europe and turkey. does that help? michael: i don't know how much it helps. to me, we are looking at the margins.
i think the europeans are in a difficult position as far as the policy perspective and from a human perspective. what is calledt for, whatever else we are going to do in syria and iraq, we have to leave the world in confronting the scale of the crisis and making sure that we don't waste a generation in the middle east and we don't hand the initiative to isis by putting millions of people in a hopeless situation. host: so you are saying we have to deal with the situation in iraq? kurt: we do. it gives them hard national security regions. ais crisis is creating situation in the middle east. it is turning into a conflict across the whole region.
russia is exploiting and strengthening its role in the mediterranean. whenever we need to do something, it is our european allies who come with us. we're seeing them put up orders in set the eu for the first time. chances of a british exit vote are going up. merkel, that is going down. it is really cracking right now. host: what is your prescription for dealing with this? kurt: dealing with isis in syria and iraq. i don't think the strategy of airstrikes and minimal support to opposition groups is sufficient. i think we have to have a robust u.s. military commitment to the crisis itself. to try to negotiate this. the russians are in their supporting president assad, that is just going to make the crisis bigger because they are the ones
fighting these refugees out. putin sayse vladimir something, we don't have to believe it. russia fully intends to keep aces in syria. air bases and ground basis. what we're talking about is the amount of russian fighters that are contributing to the syrian fighting effort. if they're successful in encouraging the government to continue the momentum, russia can't afford to back off a little bit. host: washington times notes this this morning. 6.5 billionore than dollars, but mr. obama said a wider bombing campaign quickly to more terrorist attacks like those in brussels. i want to get your reaction to that. michael: i think there are
hard-nosed security reasons for dealing with the underlying causes. i'm skeptical of russian claims that they have withdrawn, just russianskeptical of claims that they have not targeted civilians. they have. so i think we need to watch their actions. i am a little bit more optimistic -- i wouldn't say optimistic, but i see a necessity for the negotiations. ultimately, it is a hard road and it is hard to see how we get there but ultimately, this is over when there is a future in that region of the world in the hands of its people. that is a long road to get there. that takes american leadership on every front. but i would say, as you are talking about domestic politics earlier, the fundamental underpinnings of the world --
people are being questioned on their domestic politics with our allies in europe, in a way that i have never experienced. and i think this is really worthy of our full attention. the underpinnings of political word -- political world order need to be addressed. the benefits are therefore for every single american to experience. the piece that we enjoy, the certainty that when i put my daughter to bed, things will be ok in the morning. these are things that we have gotten from our country. but there are alliances and practices that support that reality. and i think it is time for us to take stewardship of that before we have missed it. host: i want to tell our viewers, that you have served. combat assignments in iraq and
afghanistan from 2002-2006. do you agree with the president, that if we step up combat against isis, we are looking at more terrorist attacks? kurt: if we increase bombings, we will have more terrorist attacks -- we need to set a serious goal of eliminating isis and we are going to meet arab allies to do that. that is not something we can do alone. he set a clear goal, bombing may be part of that. we will need ground forces and we will need a clear goal and economic numbers. people have to -- we will need to uncover the dangers of the regime. host: let's get the calls.
bill, in norfolk, connecticut. .aller: thank you for c-span my problem is i think in order to beat isis to straighten this country out, we need a complete overhaul of our government and stop applying political generals -- appointing political generals. roosevelt would roll over in his grave if they -- if he saw all of these dummies running this country. we don't need anymore summering to be isis. we don't need any more of those million lamp$40 that not all those power lines down. these congressmen only goes to congress just to bring military and they don't really seem to care about anything.
inare never going to win donald trump is our only answer. host: let's go to valerie. hi, i hope you can hear me, i am on my cell phone and i just did a 12 hours shift. i tried to get in on the other subject, but i agree with everything that the republican said instead of the part about donald trump. have are going to republican, i hope it is donald trump. how can you think that the whole fightcan get together and a small group -- it is really the idea, it is not a group of people. you can't kill the ideal. they want freedom just like we do. i think those people in the want russia and
everyone to pull out so they can solve their own problems. host: ok, valerie. think what bill questions is a good answer. it americans have a right to ask. a lot of blood envoy treasure spent. what effects have we seen for all the force put in? that raises an important question of our strategy and we changed it a lot. number two, do we need to focus on modernizing our national security capabilities? that is not just the military, that is our intelligence, the
way we leverage democracy and economic development, and i think we need to rethink our strategy. i will say i have to respond to the donald trump thing. in national security conversation about terrorists that is merged with a dark street of politics that go back a long way. should i fear my neighbor because their name is different from mine? there got is different from mine? their god is different from my? ine?
donald trump is on the other side. host: in the paper yesterday they were making a comparison .etween the fires from syria very few can united states. the reason the papers were talking about the cultural integration of muslims in our country versus those in belgium, but all across europe. do you agree? basies.hey have support there are disenfranchised muslim communities in europe in ways we do not have here. we have more integrated muslims in our society. that is true. there are basic reasons for this, which is intelligence and policing and the distance we have from the conflict. it is hard to get here both geographically and of our
security measures where we are much more on a war footing. valerie makes a good point about the influence of outside powers in the middle east. we have to remember that there is a homegrown violent ideology in the middle east that is targeting other muslims in the region and parting us. i don't think the muslims in the region can handle it alone. i think they do need our help in attacking isis and going after these extremist. host: glenda, savannah, georgia. you are next. caller: hi. it seems like everyone is surprised, but when president bush declared war on terror, the battleground moved and the germans were saying, please don't do this, these young men
are going to come back with all are goingkills and we to reach the horror of the hisls, and saddam kept finger on the --. we are always going to be fighting because the idea of fighting -- the ideal like that lady said, terror is amazing. let's have ambassador that one.e guest: they are trying to go after us in new york, boston, washington d.c., our shopping ands -- we can't sit by
cebu will do nothing about it. we do have to go after the terrorists, there i ideology -- their ideology. they do not represent the majority of muslim opinion and the people in the middle east. very a small minority, but dangerous. we can't just sit by and let them attack. nika play role does in this? this?o play in guest: take one example -- in afghanistan, we remove the taliban to go after osama bin laden. along that came nato to try to stabilize afghanistan, a decade worth of effort. in bosnia and kosovo, we get
about 50% -- 15%. importantly, we get a lot out of the fact that europe is a secure place that shares our value and contribute to common efforts in the world. if europe is in trouble as it is today, that is going to rebound back to the united states. host: we have an obligation. guest: we also have an interest. both. host: after what we saw in paris and now in belgium, these our nato allies under article five. are they at war, or do we need to respond? guest: you are now getting into technical territory. i apologize for getting -- giving a technical answer. that is an attack on one is an attack on all. cross-border land
invasion with tanks -- if it is a terrorist attack, it is less on aus if it is an attack country, or an incident. after 9/11, we agreed to invoke article five as an attack on the united states. our allies agreed to that. that was the basis of are going to afghanistan together. european allies have not gone to nato, not have invoked article five as a response to terrorist attacks in europe. the are more reluctant to think in terms of a military response to what they see as a police challenge. they see that as a national and eu effort. they may want more u.s. support. there is a degree of pride in europe about wanting to solve problems without us. at the same time, we see these incidents escalating. host: i am going to give you the next call mr. breen. amin, go ahead. caller: i am an american muslim
and a vietnam that -- vietnam veteran. when i look at the refugees coming from syria, i see a lot of women and children and i can can't the that -- why muslim men of syria go to saudi arabia, go to jordan, go to places right there close to their home, be trained to fight, and then come back and help the other people who are helping them? i don't understand my saudi arabia and all the other countries that we have given aid years, whyuries and don't they play more of a role in helping us to defeat isis? how do they expect is way over here in the united states to accomplish something that they can't seem to accomplish in their backyard? host: michael breen? guest: first of all, thank you
for your service and i think it is a good opportunity -- more muslims have given their lives by a fair margin than anybody else in the fight against extremist groups and terrorists. i have had the privilege of knowing and serving with them. that gets lost in our conversation, but very many of dom are doing what they can to hold the line against isis. we can't forget that. many of them have been our friends for quite some time. this does raise the question of the region's response and i think it comes down to this -- my saudi arabia and other powers in the region are more interested in continuing a proxy war with iran and syria. interested than ending the fight. anything we do, it can be as
integrated as you want it to be. if there is no plan to govern syria, that is plausible, we end up in a very difficult situation trying to impose order on a region, which did not go so well the first time we tried it back in 2003. this process of putting the region back in the hands of the people who live there is critical. it does tend on their willing to fight for that. i don't think that will enough willingnesshink the is lacking. no one wants to join a military force that has no opportunity to win, no training, note equipment . i would like the united states take a much more leaning approach. there has to be a flag you can rally under. we can do something, but the region has to do that, too. clinton proposed
intensified airstrikes. and greater efforts to apprend those who enable islamic states. can you govolker, back in time to heal the divisions between sunnis and shiites and all these different ts the don't trust united states is on their side? is too late.ia, it we could have done it for years ago, but not today. the best we can hope for is that we get stable lines of control. you will have a sunni area in the north end of east and a kurdish area. if you can have lines of control that stabilize, then you have a purpose of negotiating. have, the beginning
of a solution. the idea that you are going to have one government in syria to encourage all working together, i don't see it. hascially since the sod strengthened in the area. nashville,, republican. caller: i was just wondering, why can't we just blast them right off the map? i remember desert storm, you know, we went over there and we did our business over there and we give the money to rebuild. why did we give money to rebuild the city after we go and bomb them? guest: of course, we could put a couple of arma on the ground and roll through. he did not take as long in 2003
to get to baghdad. the next 10 years were harder than the first month. that is the question. and groups like that, they come to a place where people do not have basic services and the present themselves as the only alternative. they do it brutally and in no anyone i know would consent to live that way. in thevery deep believer american values we bring to that question. the question is how do you get there in this region? star.as to be our guiding nothing else has worked. guest: i agree. i would come back to the question and say, he has a good point. we should go in and rollover isis first.
we have all these difficult challenges. no doubt about it. even with what hillary clinton just said, those are good steps, but is that going to do it? i don't think so. this this is the headline morning out of the middle east, syrian forces fight islamic state at the gate upon myra. -- plamyra. of the you make , archaeology, artifacts? what is happening in this country? guest: i spent some time in syria record for the war. tragedy for everybody. there is no doubt about it. the culture, the history, i mean, i think we are going to look back on this period is probably the most in tragic
in the last five to 10 years. question is where do we go from here? think -- there for humancompeting life, one is isis' view, one is and ithoritarian view, reject that. then there is the third view, the view of united states has championed. that, in my experience, is what most syrians want. andou go to a refugee camp talk to serious, you know what they want to do?
they want to send their kids to college. they are living in tents and they are upset about the lack of graduate opportunities for their kids. these are people who have the same kind of concerns i grew up with in a middle-class household. they want to go back to syria and's in their kids to college. how do we provide that for them? there is a long way to go here. is, it is a bit of a chicken and egg question. that is a real debate. my own view, which i have reservations about this view, trying to wait until the fight stabilizes before you start negotiations is to to three years of work. have ayou have to balance of forces first.
want to come to your point about the cultural issues. we do have a major humanitarian crisis. whathas to be the focus of we think about. it is important to understand why isis is destroying cultural artifacts. because it proves them wrong. their claim is that the legitimacy is based on their ideology and their system of governance. the fact that there is in error territory in muslim territory, successful history that treating mohammed is a threat to their ideology. so they are methodically trying to eliminate anything other than what they can show as a validity of their own ideology. guests arewo referring to our negotiations dealome sort of peace
right now in syria. that is where the secretary of state is, in moscow talking to the russians president and foreign minister to discuss the placee truce that is in that will spark you in brokered peace talks. jersey,stfield, new independent. caller: good morning. i just want to ask the acid or his opinion of what globalization has done for our country. abouther gentleman talked nato, but our founding fathers were nativist. what it has gotten into is where we are bankrupt and hated throughout the world. talk about the origin of isis. bush made it was saudi arabia for a long lease for oil and they would put holy troops -- they would put military troops
in the holy land of saudi arabia. we had invaded countries where our infrastructure is destroyed. donald trump is on the right track. host: i will have the ambassador respond. globalization is the question you brought up initially. there is dark sides to globalization. there is the ease in which terrorists can communicate and their ability to blow up things. it has led to a movement of jobs and shifting of economic power. there is also some positive benefits as well. livingng the standard of for the western world. -endoved into higher industries and been very successful.
you kind of have both, yet internet, information, communication, travel -- it is a mixed bag. -- the secondng addresshe way i would your question, i understand what you are saying about fortress america and pulling back and reinvested in our own society, but the problem is that the rest of the world does not stop. the rest of the world continues to find ways to go after us and to pursue their interest and -- their interest at our expense. we are the number one target of everyone else because we are the weakest and best thing around. atcannot just sit back expect things to stay as they are. if we do that, they will get worse. host: barbara, baltimore, democrat, good morning. guest: pretty much a
generalization. i would like to commend you on this program. i am a black retired teacher and i am a democrat and i go along a lot with what donald trump says. you immediately say i am not a fan of donald trump, that should not be necessary because i think a lot of the younger people now, the reasoning is not there because we have gangs we are dealing with. neighborhoods, you have problems there that i hate , but i in an analogy think we are giving too much information. i heard donald trump and another person on terrorism make the comment that we are talking about it to specifically. because if you have a plan against the enemy, not only do you have a plan, but you have a plan against someone who has no
fear. michael breen? host: perhaps belgium would not have happened if one of the people would have been tortured? guest: my organization released stronglyetter condemning the idea of torture by americans. it does not work. it is not who we are. to us and as damaging are men and women as it is to the enemy. don't kid yourself, terrorists have as much fear as anyone else. experienceenough with them as anyone else. we do not have to resort to these kinds of methods to win the second world war. i don't think it's time to turn to this now. it is an effective.
it does not work. that is a clear consensus of most experts. host: let's talk about the size of the movement in europe because the front page of the financial times this morning -- the police going to the brussels bombers to the november assault in paris. saide's prime minister many were being hunted. journal"e "wall street in a raid that lasted more than two hours, investigators found 33 pounds of explosives, 40 gallons of acetone, and a suitcase filled of bolts. what is your dealing with -- andt: organized, trained, funded. it is multiple cells of jihadists. people who have grown up in
these communities in europe and and beenalized -- radicalized. there are people from syria and isis on missions to europe to go create terror cells and create terrorist attacks in western europe. it is a war. host: jennifer, you are next in new york, a republican. good morning to you. caller: good morning. for a person who sits back end why watch as each and every day, the americans speak the way that they do, the politicians speak as foolish as they do. this is an ideology you will never beat. muslim must announce that religion. that is number one. number 2 -- keep them out of our country. sure up the
borders. number four -- what are you doing about the airports with bomb-sniffing dogs? police are unprotected. the amount of people that will now rise up because secretively, these muslims believe they are a game. this is a religion that calls to murder. get rid of it! the announce it! host: we had a number of islamic clerics and muslims come whather and denounce happened in belgium and also call on americans do not attack them all. michael breen? guest: i agree. you should ask the muslims buried in arngton what they think quite frankly. this is a country founded on the toa that if you subscribe
the set of values and willing to sacrifice, no matter where you were born, no matter what god you pray to, we are all americans tend when we stand equal. americans, we stand equal. we are taking a step back here. one of the reasons -- in order to carry out the kind of attacks we have seen in europe, you need a supporting network of people to help you do that. a sickly a committee that supports -- basically a community that support itself. americans who made the decision to go to syria and 20 terrorist organization. robust much more security procedures in place, but much more importantly, is the strength of our values. that is our best defense. there is no amount of law enforcement you can put into
place. people fight for this country because they believe in it. our front line of defense are our local communities. when people called to ban one of the biggest religion from our shores, we have to be brave to say this is the land of the free. host: what she said is a perspective and perspective is a reality, are americans who believe like that you are does, caring enough from arab leaders? guest: no. that is an issue from what they hear based on what is broadcast and what information is out there. i will give you an example. let me make a couple points. one of them is that more muslims have been killed by isis than anybody else. they kill muslims. [laughter]
second, muslims know this and they hate us. they want to do something about it. ,e have countries in the region saudi arabia, uae, qatar, jordan, lebanon, turkey, and iraq all determined to go after isis. a muslim countries. all muslim countries. they are trying to do that. --example i want to give isis captured a jordanian highland, put him in a cage, and burn him alive. find a single person sympathetic to isis after that. a muslim king goes on bombing runs himself. it is not the case to say all muslims support isis. and islam is a religion we cannot work with.
it is an extremist version of islam, that has to be taken out and we need the rest of the muslim community to help us do it. matt.that's go to caller: good morning. thank you for your two guess. this is a very important discussion. i have a brother who came home from deployment. he has been deployed nine times in the last 10 years. i spoke with him very clearly about a lot of things we were together. one of the things i kept hearing from him what the american people are not knowledgeable about what we are doing. wehad one person that says talk too much, we talk not enough. one of the things that would help united states in its fight is what happened after 9/11 would happen again if the country would come together,
stand behind our troops, an d our congress. they have avoided this for 18 months. my brother told me that the jordanian people of america. maybe he is wrong. maybe he had a misconception. thefor a man who defends freedoms of our country, i think he might be on the right track. our propaganda, hate speech, it is just unbelievable. host: michael breen was justin jordan. guest: i have to strongly agree with your brother. we thank him for everything he is doing. i grew up in new hampshire, so it is great to hear good since coming from new hampshire -- from concord. got to visitly with our fighter pilots. they believe deeply in what they are doing.
we are not sharing that effectively as we could be doing with the american people. you are right. this is a region that really does want united states to be its best self and put its best foot forward. dan, a democrat. good morning to you. caller: thank you. i have a question for mr. breen. and for mr. volker. the disparity between european muslims and american muslims -- isn't it the truth that american muslims just do a whole lot better economically than the people in europe? breen, this area just seems to be alive with weapons. where do these weapons come from? thank you. host: a couple of questions. guest: muslims in the united
states have partly come with high education and high skilled and been able to work successfully. partly, our society is more and they, more diverse have enabled to prosper here. in europe, it has been the opposite. income,ucated, lower unskilled workers. they have larger communities that are isolated. societies themselves are less flexible, less dynamic, harder to integrate these communities into european societies because of the cultural differences. that has continued and perpetuated these disenfranchised communities. host: the jihadist fighters, of a young, male, unemployed? guest: yes, yes, yes. [laughter]
still very disenfranchised societies. you will have new citizens that grew up there, people who are coming as soldiers out of syria to fight with jihad against europe. you got all stripes there. you talked about numbers and scale -- the scale here is extraordinary. we are talking millions and millions of people, not just a few hundred thousand. you talk about the number of refugees in germany got up, in the last year, that a number of young men in germany as a silent seekers and refugees greater than the size of the western and eastern militaries during the cold war. that is big. host: mr. breen, the weapons? guest: the short answer is everywhere. this is an area of the world that has a lot of military hardware piled up in it.
some cases, the military hardware has in that up in hands we did not want it to. there are lesser flows of chinese weapons. countries that purchased the weapons and distribute them. , dependingcivil war on how you account them between three and six different sizes, are pumping tremendous weapons and fighters in training into the fight. russia now has ground troops. that creates an escalation. it makes it hard for the fight to stabilize unless we meet an agreement. easier said than done. what for the russians and iranians do. it is pretty difficult to ramp whenlevel of violence down you have the sheer numbers of weapons and firepower. host: cheryl, you are on the
air. caller: i would like to make a comment. we are our own worst enemy. we have been buying oil from the middle east for centuries. this is the reason why isis and the taliban are so strong especially after the world trade center, we should have stopped buying gas and oil from the middle east. for the percent of that money -- 40% of that money is going into the hands of the taliban. with the refugees coming into the country, who lost isis and who does not? they do not come with her certificates. account 7mething on -- a couple of months ago, they said there were two people who came over on one of these visas teaching them how to fly air force planes to protect their country and the disappeared and never heard anything on the news
again. where are these guys? you have to know about this. thank you. [laughter] guest: sorry to disappoint you, but i don't know about that. -- first question was host: i am blanking as well. ray in texas. ray, one second. now, i firmly believe the u.s. should do everything possible to invest in our supplies of energy and we should be having bit of -- we should be having their recalls of energy. that moneyot mean will stop flowing to the middle east because we have global energy markets. -- others will
be buying iranian gas. that is just the way it is going to be. for the united states, i do believe it is important for us to invest in our own energy. guest: it is a great case for renewable energy, if you ask me. [laughter] guest: it is important, we talk about this massive problem, it is important to talk about how different the situation in the united states is. the most embedded human being that gives off an airplane, anywhere they come, they are a refugee. most robust system we have for anyone who arrives in the united states. there are a little over 2000 syrians who came as refugees from the united states. 3% were males between the
ages of 15 years old and 50 years old. the vast majority are women, children, and orphans. this is different than people showing up in an uncontrolled flow. easy to going to a hysterical fear of refugees. 97% of them are women and children. system for at national coming into united states. host: ok, ray is next. hi there, ray. caller: good morning, i would like to say, fascinating discussion. it indicates why a simple response from our group of presidential people that are running for president is just so
incorrect for them to do so. , want to comment on the fact why is no one talking about the fact that our current president has done a pretty good darn job keeping us safe domestically? thank you. ray, i apologize for cutting you off earlier. [laughter] that you are right that these issues cannot be dealt with in soundbites. there are a lot of complex dynamics and you really have to think about it. i think we have good people on both sides of the aisle, republicans, democrats. unfortunately, that is not what gets filtered through the media. through the media filter, we are looking for these 10 second sound bite and you can get to the heart of the issues that way. in terms of our situation in the world, i think you make a good point when you look at the
degree to which we have had attacks in united states. we have only had a few. we have san bernardino, fort hood, boston bombing and several other attempts. our law enforcement and intelligence is still on what i would describe as a war footing. focused on thely fact that people are trying to attack us and doing everything they can to prevent that from happening and done a pretty good job. host: the wall street journal -- the muted reaction is by design and they said a ghost his believe that overreacting to a terrorist attack, elevates extremists groups in a way that exaggerate their influence. terrorism is overstated and the focus of it can become self paralyzing. buddy in texas, independent.
good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, sir. question or comment? caller: you have to understand that mohammed was the bigger murderer in hitler. they believe that he is one of the saints that wrote the koran. is killing koran nonbelievers. host: buddy, have you read the koran? caller: yes, i have read a lot of it. it was converted to english. that theot to believe , the are thent ones that are radicalized. the ones doing the killing are the ones who believe in the koran. host: let your little bit about that with michael breen. most of the people being
killed by these groups are muslim. most of these people fighting the terrorists are muslim. there are thousands android thousands of muslims doing this right now as we are talking. andhere are thousands thousands of muslims doing this right now as we are talking. , frankly, i think a world where it is muslims against everybody else, that is the world that isis is working hard to create. this is what they want. this is what bin laden wanted. to create that hardline division. insist that most groups are killing people to make the choice. interesthy isis has an
of creating fear of the u.s. and europe to help refugees. i don't know anybody who wants to live that way. we've got to offer them a third choice. the strength of that third choice -- the attacks in the united states were mostly lone wolf. there are no networks in american communities that support mass casualty attacks. they don't exist in united states because american communities reject that entirely whether they are american muslims or christians. guest: i want to point out that with allies that are muslim turkey, they are not
on a rampage killing us or others. albania, same thing. we have indonesia, the largest muslim population country in the world. rampaget on a religious going around killing people. i just am mechanically the religion with violence in a direct way such as people have tried to do. it is not the case. it is the case that there are extremists terrorists, radicals awful people who are doing things in the name of islam. they need to be stopped. we need to go after them relentlessly. theyed to recognize that are also targeting muslims. muslims are also against them. we need to build that coalition. host: there is so much more to talk about. unfortunately, our time is up.
ambassador volker and michael breen, decorated army captain. he is the president and later, european justice and security ministers speak at a press conference following the emergency meeting in brussels. ♪ washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, policy director for the coalition, with us to discuss the issues raised
at the government reform committee on combating drug abuse. he will also talk about the work being done by his organization. then megan mccarthy, editor in chief of morning consult, will share her thoughts about the response to the heroine epidemic. during us by phone, to talk about the state level and opioid emergency task force, be sure to watch washington journal. easterning live at 7:00 . starting monday on c-span, the supreme court cases that shaped our history come to life with the c-span series landmark cases, historic supreme court decisions. our 12 part decision explores constitutional dramas behind some of the most significant decisions in american history. >> john marshall in marbury versus madison said this is different, the constitution is a
political documentary it sets up the structures. but it is the law. and we have finding it in the other branches. ultimatethe anti-presidential case, exactly what you do not want to do. >> who should make the decisions about those debates? and the supreme court said it should make the decisions of those debates. announcer: landmark cases begins tonight on c-span and see c-span.org. joe biden called for the confirmation of merrick garland in a speech at georgetown university law center. fromplains his combination 1992, which republicans have used to justify their refusal to hold hearings on the current nominee. this is 40 minutes. [applause]
>> hi, everyone. thank you. lisa down. my name is joe biden. i have worked for victorian nurse for a long time. and i mean, long time. and i'm told the dean of students when i met him, i almost decided not to do the speech here. my son went to georgetown and my staff went to georgetown and my son did his first year of law school here at georgetown. he ended up graduating from yale.
long story, but that's what he did. he did his first year and transferred to yale. feel a real intense loyalty to georgetown. five bidens have gone to georgetown. i went to a good school, i went to delaware. [laughter] but -- i almost decided not to do it at georgetown and do it at g.w. because you stole victoria nurse from me. i thought she had to go back to minnesota. that's why i agreed to let her go, but, victoria, thank you. you have been a great friend and brilliant mind. you have helped me negotiate an awful lot of very tough terrain. and i want to thank you for that. it's great to be back here. look, last week in the rose garden i stood by president obama as he fulfilled his constitutional responsibility to nominate the supreme court of the united states judge, chief judge, merrick garland. someone eminently qualified. if you noticed, you heard no one, no one question his integrity. you have heard no one question
his scholarship. you have heard no one question his open-mindedness. you found no one to find any substantive criticism of chief judge merrick garland. i have known him for 21 years. i'm telling you, you will have a great difficulty finding anyone. which makes this all the more perplexing. as the president said, chief judge garland deserves a hearing. just as a simple matter of fairness before we talk about the constitution. but it's also a matter of the senate fulfilling its constitutional responsibility. yet weeks ago my friends, they are my friends, republican senators, announced that whomever the nominee might be, they intended to abdicate their responsibility completely. that's what they say today. that's what they said then. what republican senators say they will do, in my view, can lead to a genuine constitutional crisis.
born out of the dysfunction of washington. i have been here a long time. i have been in the majority, minority, majority, minority, i have been on both sides. i understand, if you read, most people say i have very good relations with the republican party as well as the democratic party. but i have never seen it like this. washington right now, congress, is dysfunctional. and they are undermining the norms. that govern how we conduct ourselves. they are threatening what we value most, undercutting in the world what we stand for. i traveled over a million miles since being vice president of the united states. i'm not exaggerating. i usually go because when i go to meet with world leaders, most of whom i have known before, they know when i speak, i speak for the president. because of our relationship. so i spend a lot of time, i promise you, this is what i
hear. whether i'm in beijing, whether i'm in bogota, whether i'm in the u.a.e. in dubai, i'll try to convince them of a position we have and they'll say, ok. and we'll shake hands. but i give you my word they'll look at me and say, but can you deliver? let me say that again, when the president of the united states speaks or i speak for him, world leaders will look at me and say, can you deliver? those of you who travel around the world or from other parts of the world, you know that the world looks at this city right now as dysfunctional. that's a problem. going to be even more of a problem if it spreads beyond the congress.
the great justice robert jackson once wrote, while the constitution defuses power, the better to secure liberty, it also contemplates that practice will integrate and disperse powers into a workable government. here's the important sentence, it says, it enjoins branches -- it enjoins upon its branches, separateness but interdependence. autonomy but reciprocity. separateness but independence, autonomy but reciprocity. my entire career, seven years as vice president, 36 years in the united states senate, half of those years as either the ranking member or chairman of the senate judiciary committee, i have never seen the spirit of
interdependence and reciprocity at a lower ebb. not among our people but our government. the bonds that held our diverse republic together for the last 229 years are being frayed. and you-all know it. whether you are democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, everybody knows it. the world knows it. it limits our peoples and other governments' trust in us. our trust in each other. this is not hyperbole to suggest without trust we are lost. without trust and give between the branches and within the branches, we are lost. back in 1992, in the aftermath
of a bruising and polarizing confirmation process, involving clarence thomas, who had been nominated by president bush with no consultation, just four days after the great thurgood marshall had retired, i took to the senate floor to speak about the supreme court nominating process. senate majority leader, he's my friend, mitch mcconnell, and other republicans, today, have been quoting selectively from the remarks that i made in an attempt to justify refusing chief judge garland a fair hearing and a vote on the floor of the senate. they completely ignore the fact that at the time i was speaking of the dangers of nominating an extreme candidate without proper senate consultation.
they completely neglected to quote my unequivocal bottom line. so let me set the record straight, as they say. i said, and i quote, if the president consult and cooperates with the senate, or moderates his selections, then his nominees may enjoy my support as did justice kennedy and justice souter. end of quote. i made it absolutely clear that i would go forward with the confirmation process as chairman, even a few months before presidential election. if the nominee were chosen with the advice and not merely the consent of the senate. just as the constitution requires. my consistent advice to presidents of both parties, including this president, has been that we should engage fully in the constitutional process of
advice and consent. and my consistent understanding of the constitution has been the senate must do so as well. period. they have an obligation to do so. because there is no vacancy after the thomas confirmation, we can't know what the president and senate might have done. but here's what we do know. every time as the ranking member or chairman of the judiciary committee i was responsible for eight justices and nine total nominees to the supreme court. more than, i hate to say this, anyone alive. [laughter] i can't be that old. some i supported.
a few i voted against. but in all that time every nominee was greeted by committee members. every nominee got a committee hearing. every nominee got out of the committee even if they didn't have sufficient votes to pass within the committee, because i believe the senate says, the senate must advise and consent. and every nominee, including justice kennedy in an election year, got an up and down vote. not much at the time. not most of the time. every single, solitary time. so now you hear this talk about the biden rule. frankly ridiculous.
there is no biden rule. it doesn't exist. there is only one rule i ever followed in the judiciary committee. that was the constitution's clear rule of advice and consent. article 2 of the constitution clearly states whenever there is a vacancy in one of the courts created by the constitution itself, the supreme court of the united states, the president shall -- not may, the president shall appoint someone to fill the vacancy with the advice and consent of the united states senate. and advice and consent includes consulting and voting. nobody is suggesting individual senators have to vote yes on any particular presidential nominee.
voting no is always an option and it is their option. but saying nothing, seeing nothing, reading nothing, hearing nothing and deciding in advance simply to turn your back before the president even names a nominee is not an option the constitution leaves open. it's a plain abdication of the senate's solemn constitutional duty. it's an abdication, quite frankly, that has never occurred before in our history. now i'm able to square their unprecedented conduct with the constitution, my friend, mitch mcconnell, and the chairman of the committee, he's my friend, the senator from iowa, senator grassley, they are now trying
another tact. they ask, what's the difference? what difference does it make if the court has eight or nine members? [laughter] i'm serious. remember, they said they weren't going to fill any vacancies on the circuit court of appeals for the district for four years. remember that's what they said? that's not a constitutionally created court. the supreme court is. let me make clear for folks who may be listening at home. what happens, and you students all know this, but what happens at the supreme court makes a significant difference in the everyday life of the american people. article 1 gives the power to congress to fix the number of
justices. from 1789 to 1866, the number waxed and waned between five and 10. but in 1869 the congress passed a law setting the court size at nine. and that law has not been changed since. as recently as 1992, i said on the floor of the senate, as pointed out to me, for me, that to go through a period of 4-4 splits partly because the period wouldn't last very long. the exact number of justices was of less urgent concern. but i don't believe anybody in their right mind would propose permanently returning the court to a body of eight. or leaving one seat vacant not
just for the rest of this year, but for potentially and likely the next 400 days. that option wouldn't be much better. this is all the more true in a year where congress has become almost entirely dysfunctional. none other than the deceased justice scalia wrote, quote, if you have eight justices on a case, it raises, quote, the possibility that by reason of a tie vote the court will find itself unable to resolve significant legal issues presented by the case, end of quote. if that possibility backs a reality in any given case, the justices would have to announce that they cannot decide either way. they would be left clear clearing the case from their
docket or kicking it down the road to be argued under a new court, when a justice is finally confirmed. pressing controversies, the that prompted the court to grant review in the first place, many cases because of different decisions in different circuit courts, would remain unresolved. the issues the court believes were too important to leave in limbo are going to remain in limbo. suspended in midair. more than two centuries ago, justice john marshall, famously declared that the court, quote, has a duty to say what the law is. not an option, a duty. a solemn duty. when the senate refuses to even consider a nominee, it prevents the court from discharging that constitutional duty and so clear
divided court. we are saving the court by keeping the seat vacant for hundreds of days matters not just because -- certainly it perpetuates. because of the way it fractures our country. the framers designed our system to one supreme court responsibility to resolve conflicts in the lower courts. if those conflicts were allowed to stand, we end up with a patchwork constitution inconsistent with equal justice and the rule of law. federal laws that apply to the whole country will be constitutional in some parts of the country but unconstitutional in others. i don't have to go through the cases you know that are pending appeal. and how controversial they are. the extent of your federal constitution, constitutional rights, freedom of speech, freedom to follow the teachings
your faith, determine what constitutes teaching of your faith. the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. all could depend on where you happen to live. i think most people in this country would think that's unfair and unacceptable. we are, after all, the united states of america. either the constitution protects rights across the united states or it doesn't. a patchwork constitution is hardly a national constitution at all. in a divided supreme court, we would be unable to establish uniform federal law. that could mean, as you students well know, and you professors, claims of race or sex discrimination could come out one way in california and arizona, another way next door in utah and colorado. claims of government
interference with religion could have one fate in ohio and iowa, and another nearby in illinois and wisconsin. look at the cases. claims of unlawful policing might be resolved by one standard in nebraska and totally different standard next door in kansas. there's nothing implausible about these scenarios. the american people deserve a fully staffed supreme court of nine. not one disabled and divided. one that's able to rule on the great issues of the day. race discrimination, separation of church and state. whether there is a right to an abortion, if so, safe and legal abortion. police searches. these are all actual cases before the supreme court of the united states.
before the courts. we have to make sure that a fully functioning court, supreme court, is in the position to address these significant issues. and a geographic happenchance cannot fragment our national unity. lest you think this is exaggeration, when you studied brown vs. board, remember chief justice warren had the votes to decide that case, but they waited to get one southern justice to rule with the majority because he knew what it would do in dividing the country. if that were not the case. extrapolate that to today. the same principle about one
constitution. why it's important these laws be applied and the constitution be applied the same way everywhere in the united states. i realize it's not exactly analogous, but think of what it says. about how important it is. alexander hamilton had the foresight to warn that such fragmented judicial power would, quote, create a high doctor end government from which nothing but contradiction and confusion can proceed, end of quote. even worse, a patchwork constitution could deepen the gulf between the haves and have-nots. under a system of laws, national in name only, the rich, the powerful can use it to their advantage the geographical differences and game the system. not available to ordinary
people. look, our democracy rests upon the twin pillars of basic fairness and justice under the law. being law students you're going to be asked to write essays and exams about what both those things mean, but every american knows in their gut what they mean. they understand it. it's intuitive. both these pillars demand that we not trap ordinary americans in whatever lower court's fate has chosen for them, while letting other more powerful selectively choose lower courts that best fit their needs. i know there is forum shopping now. look, the longer this high court vacancy remains unfilled, the more serious the problem we'll face. a problem compounded by turbulence, confusion, and uncertainty, about our safety, security, liberty, our privacy, the future of our children and
grandchildren. in times like these we need more than ever a fully functioning court. a court that can resolve diverse issues peacefully, even when they resolve them in directions i didn't like. dysfunction and partisanship are bad enough on capitol hill, but we can't let the senate spread that dysfunction to another branch of the government. to the court of the united states. we must not let it fester until the vital organs of our body politic are too crippled to perform their basic functions
they are designed to perform. and i think you probably think i'm exaggerating, but think of all the things that have not been acted on now unrelated to the court on the hill that are profoundly important to the functioning of our foreign policy, our democratic policy. just left unattended. no action. we can't afford that to spread to another branch of government. contrary to what my senate republican friends want you to believe, the president and i are former senators and we take advice and consent very seriously, and we did when we served. we do so not just because it's
our constitutional duty, but because we care deeply about getting past the gridlock that left our people understandably frustrated and angry with government in washington. i wonder how many have been kidded when you go home, you go to school in washington? not a joke. they know georgetown's one of the great universities in the world. but i'm not joking. go home. [laughter] i live in washington. serious. think about it. think about how we even laugh about it like, you know, yeah, we all know it's true. pretty sad. look, we, you, we all care deeply about making this government work again. the president and i care about the letter of the advice and
consent as well as the spirit of advice and consent. that spirit, that spirit of accommodation and forbearance not a spirit of intransigence. that's why both of us, why our administration, spent countless hours meeting with, soliciting the views of senators of both parties, i sat there with the majority and the chairman of the judiciary committee in the oval office. the president and i spent hours together admittedly we sit down like the three other two nominees, and we are the last two in the room. but it hasn't been a closed process. we reached out. who do you want? who do you think? what type of person should we nominate? we did our duty. the president did his duty. we sought advice.
and we ultimately chose the course of moderation because the government is divided. the president did not go out and find another brennan. merrick garland intellectually, as capable as any justice, but he has a reputation for moderation. i think that's a responsibility to the administration in a divided government. some of my liberal friends don't agree with me, but i do. it's about the government functioning. it's about the admonition of justice jackson. the president has fully discharged his constitutional obligation. so it's a really simple proposition, in my view. now it's up to the senate to do the same. as i might add, the polling data shows the american people expect him to do.
we owe it to the american people to consider his nomination and to give him an up and down vote. look, the american people are decent and inclusive at heart. it's not our nation -- it's not our nature as a nation to shut our minds and treat those with whom we disagree as enemies instead of the opposition. it's not the american people who are going to blame for this
dysfunction. it's our politics, our politics are broken. there's no secret the congress is broken. again, regardless of your political persuasion, i would love to hear one of you in class -- i'll come back if you invite me -- tell me how the system is functioning. [laughter] even the most serious, persistent national crises haven't motivated the current congress to find a middle ground. we just moved to the side. we haven't addressed them -- they just moved them to the side. we haven't addressed them. end where i began. we're watching a constitutional crisis in the making, born out of dysfunction in washington. it's got to stop. it really does, for the sake of both parties, for the sake of the country, for the sake of our ability to govern. it's got to stop. the defining difference of our great democracy has always been, no matter how difficult the issue, we've always been ultimately able to reason our way through to what ails us and to act as citizens, voters and public servants to go fix it. this requires that we act in
good faith in the spirit of conciliation, not confrontation. with some modicum of mutual good will. for the sake of our country, the country we love, because of what we value. i mean, that's who we are. we can't let one branch of government threaten the equality and rule of law in the name of a patchwork constitution. we must not let justice be delayed or denied as a matter of fundamental rights, and we must not let the rule of law collapse in our highest court because it's being denied as full compliment of judges as they accept the refusal of a presidential nominee. i still believe in the supreme court of delivering equal rights under the law. but it requires nine now. i still believe in the voice the people if we follow a
constitutional path. the pass of advice and consent. the path of collaboration in search of a common ground. for obstructionism is dangerous and it's self-indull gent. in the greatest constitutional republic in the history of the world, it's a simple proposition, folks, not a joke. think of this last statement. unless we can find common ground, how can are the system designed by our founders function? not a joke. how can we govern -- if he doesn't turn off that phone -- [laughter]
if it's my staff, you're fired. [laughter] but all kidding aside, just think about it. how can we govern without being able to find common ground? that is how the system is designed. it is worked pretty darn well. -- it has worked pretty darn well. one of the reasons i came to all school is i want you to go back to class and challenge what i said. look at it closely. see whether the argument i make is right or wrong. make your voices heard. make your voices heard.
. want to thank you all god bless the united states of america and most of all may god protect our troops. thank you so much. year's contest, students produced documentaries telling us they wanted the -- telling us the issues they wanted candidates to discuss. next to all and teachers the competed this year and congratulations to all of the winners. every weekday in april, one of the top 21 winning entries will air at 6:50 a.m. eastern on c-span. all of the winning entries are available for viewing online. >> tomorrow on c-span, russian journalists discuss the state of russian media and president. putin.ident
>> seven iranian hackers working on behalf of the iranian government were indicted for cyberattacks on 76 financial institutes and upstate new york. reports,arnest and this comes days after u.s. and --n implemented a high including a prisoner swap and $1.7 billion payment for the country. attorney general loretta lynch and james comey announced the indictment at a press conference . this is 30 minutes.
ms. lynch: well, good morning, all. thank you for being here today. now, before i again, i know at the forefront of all of our minds continues to be the terrible events that unfolded in brussels earlier this week. and let me just take a moment to reiterate that the entire obama administration and the american people continue to stand with the people of belgium, with the people of all of europe and the world in condemning these appalling attacks and in offering our support, condolences in any way that we can. our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones, both those who perished, those who suffered, all who were touched by this and the department of justice is in constant communication with our counterparts in belgium. we are committed to providing any and all assistance as we move forward together with unity and with strength. now, i also want to make clear that while we have received no specific credible threats to the homeland, we will continue to remain vigilant in order to ensure that we can keep the american people safe from harm. thank you. now, i am joined today for this
announcement by f.b.i. director james comey, by the u.s. district attorney, and the assistant attorney general for national security. we're here today to announce a major law enforcement action as part of our ongoing efforts to disrupt cyberthreats and to protect our national security. today, we have unsealed an indictment against seven alleged experienced hackers employed by computer security companies working on behalf of the iranian government, including the islamic revolutionary guard corps. a federal grand jury in manhattan found that these seven individuals conspired together and with others to conduct a series of cyberattacks against civilian targets in the united states financial services industry that in total or in all, in sum cost the victims tens of millions of dollars. now, between late 2011 and mid 2013, the united states
financial sector suffered a large-scale and coordinated campaign of distributed denial of service, or ddos attacks. this is a particular kind of cyberattack in which multiple compromised sources are used to target and overwhelm a single system. and through these attacks, the servers of 46 financial institutions were flooded with traffic over the course of 176 days. as a result of this ddos attack, online services were disrupted, hundreds of thousands of americans were unable to access bank accounts online. these attacks were relentless, they were systematic and they were widespread. they threatened our economic well-being and our ability to compete fairly in the global marketplace. both of which are directly
linked to our national security. and we believe that they were conducted with the sole purpose of undermining the targeted companies and damaging the online operation of america's free markets. in addition to the actions that we have detailed, one of the defendants is also charged with illegally obtaining access to the supervisory control and data acquisition system of the bowman dam in rye, new york. at the time of this alleged intrusion, the dam was undergoing maintenance and actually had been disconnected from the system, but for that fact, that access would have given this defendant the ability to control water levels, to control flow rates and outcome that clearly could have posed a clear and present danger to the public health and safety of americans. and i'd also like to thank the department of homeland security as well as the city of rye, new york, for their assistance in managing that particular incident. in unsealing this indictment, the department of justice is sending a powerful message that we will not allow any individual, group or nation to sabotage american financial institutions or undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market. through the work of our national security division, the f.b.i. and u.s. attorneys offices
around the country can we will continue to pursue national security cyberthreats through the use of all available tools, including public criminal charges and as today's unsealing makes clear, individuals who engage in computer hacking will be exposed for their criminal conduct and sought for apprehension and prosecution in an american court of law. this case is a reminder of the seriousness of cyberthreats to our national security, and these public criminal charges represent a groundbreaking step forward in addressing that threat. we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to investigate the malicious cyberactors so we can attribute their actions down to the government, the -- country, the government agency, the organization and the individuals involved and charge them publicly. now, i'd like to thank all of those who worked so diligently to bring the investigation to
this point including, particularly the targeted private companies and others in the private sector who were integral partners throughout this investigation. this case highlights the significance of what we can accomplish by working together, holding bad actors accountable and protecting the american people. and at this time, let me introduce the director of the f.b.i., james comey, who will give us additional details on today's announcement. mr. director. director comey: thank you, attorney general lynch. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. the challenge we face in investigating cybercrime is that cybercriminals often think it's a freebie to reach into the united states to steal from us. they think it's a freebie because they're halfway around the world to use anonymoinization techniques. anonymization techniques.
we will work together to shrink the world and impose costs on those people so that no matter where they are we will try to reach them. no matter how hard they work to hide their identity and their trade craft, we will find ways to pierce that shield and identify them. that's the message of this case. that's why it's so important we bring this case. i want to say a word of thanks to the men and women of the f.b.i. who worked very hard on this for a number of years across the country. what's also interesting about this case is we did it virtually. we used the new york field office, cincinnati, chicago, san francisco and phoenix, all working together. we found a reasonably good u.s. attorney's office to work with and together those offices contributed to a single effort in the southern district of new and in the southern district of new him and york to bring charges and impose costs on people who thought before this that it was a freebie. so my thanks to the u.s. attorney's office. my thanks to the national security division here at the justice. but the good folks at the f.b.i. for staying after this. people ask us, well, these people are in iran so how are you ever going to get them? the world is small and our memories are long. we never say never. people often like to travel for
vacation or education, and we want them looking over their shoulder, both when they travel and when they sit at a keyboard. that's the message of this case. there is no place safe on this increasingly small world. so with that i'd like to introduce the u.s. district attorney for the southern district of new york. mr. bharara: thank you, director comey, for introducing me and from whom i inherited a good u.s. attorney's office years ago. so the charges announced today respond directly to a coordinated cyberassault on new york, its institutions and its infrastructure. as has been said, seven iranians engaged to disrupt and dismantle many institutions, many based in new york city. obviously you heard about the infiltration of the bowman dam. as you also heard, these were not just ordinary crimes but calculated attacks directed by groups with ties to iran's islamic revolutionary guard corps and designed with the specific goal of harming america.
the iranian defendants intended new york to be the epicenter of harm, because new york is the financial capital of the world, because new york has always been the blue chip target for those who want to harm our country. as i said, as the attorney general said, basically what occurred here was a group of individuals, seven charged in the indictment, three who are members of a particular security company called i.t. sect team, and four others who were associated with the security firm called mersad company, each and together within their respective companies were engaged in ddos attacks. basically by putting malware on computers around the world, seizing them remotely and launching attacks basically on at least 46 institutions, financial institutions around the country which caused, as the attorney general mentioned, tens of millions of dollars to damage and harm to those companies.
separately, you also heard about the infiltration of the bowman dam which to our mind represents a frightening frontier to cybercrime. although no actual harm resulted from that infiltration, the potential havoc that such a hack of american infrastructure could wreak is scary to think about. at the end of the day there's good news and there's bad news. cybercriminals working with an entity with ties to the government of iran attacked and shut down vast swaths of the u.s. financial systems at times. hackers infiltrated infrastructure as alleged, taking over computers that control the water levels of the dam near new york city. so those sounds like plot lines of a movie but they're not. they're real crimes committed by real people in the real world. so that's the bad news. the good news is that the department of justice and the f.b.i. and other law enforcement agencies are on it and they're working hard every day, and as this announcement today shows, we will investigate any perpetrators who seek to harm
the united states of america. we will indict them. we will expose them, and then we will do everything in our power to apprehend and ultimately prosecute them in a court of law. we now live in a world where a devastated attack on our financial system, our infrastructure and our way of life can be launched from anywhere in the world. just with a simple click of a mouse. whether such an attack is motivated by greed or directed by an arm of a nation state, it must and will be met with a strong law enforcement response. but beyond law enforcement, what we can and will do, these cyberattacks should serve as a wake-up call, a wake-up call for everyone responsible for the security of our financial markets and a wake-up call for everyone entrusted with guarding our infrastructure, our future security depends on heeding that call. now, i want to thank some people also. i know some people have been thanked. this was no ordinary crime. solving a crime like this takes
a lot of people in a lot of different places in close collaboration with each other. first, i want to thank my friend, attorney general loretta lynch for her guidance on this case and every case she oversees. i also want to thank my friend, john garland, assistant attorney general of the national security division. and all the folks in his office who worked on this case and brought us to this point. of course, the f.b.i. represented here by its leader jim comey. the sprawling investigation here, as director comey already mentioned, involved a lot of different f.b.i. offices. i want to mention and acknowledge and thank them also. they involved the field offices in chicago, cincinnati, new york, phoenix and san francisco. finally, i want to thank the fine men and women in my own office who made this happen, especially tim howard. supervisors, nicole freelander, who lead our fraud and cybercrime unit. let me introduce the assistant district attorney, john carlin.
mr. carlin: thank you. under his leadership there's no better partner in the country for the national security -- than then southern district of new york. as someone who has friends in new york city i'm grateful he's there and those that defend against national security threats and i want to thank the for the f.b.i. for the investigation. and the victims who are sometimes not treated as victims when it comes to cyberattacks. we know that the bad guys are not you. the bad guys are the people overseas targeted your systems -- targeting your systems and that we can't confront these threats without your critical assistance. this case demonstrates the power when public and private do work together to confront the cyberthreat. for many years, nation states and their affiliates enjoyed what they perceived to be as a cloak of anonymity, a cloak they hid behind to break our laws through cyberintrusions and to threaten our security and
economic well-being. they had had perceived cloak of anonymity because they thought we couldn't figure out who did it, and they thought if we did figure out who did it we wouldn't say it. well, they're wrong. in a new approach, we have unleashed prosecutors and agents across the country against national security cyberthreats. and that's why two years ago at this very podium we could announce an indictment against five members of the people liberation army. today, let this indictment reinforce that the days of perceived anonymity are gone. we can remove the cloak and we will. today's announcement proves once again that there is no free pass for those who conduct nation state affiliated intrusions. this week is a significant week when it comes to our national security cyberprogram. on tuesday, we unveiled charges against members of the syrian electronic army and yesterday, a
chinese businessman in los angeles pled guilty for conspiring to hack into defense contractors and to steal sensitive information, including information related to fighter jets. and now today, we can tell the world that hackers affiliated with the iranian government attacked u.s. systems and we seek to bring them to justice for their crimes. so no matter where a hacker is located or who he is affiliated with, be it china or north korea, be it the islamic state and the levant or the syrian electronic army, we can do so publicly, figure out who did it, say who did it and have consequences. and this is still the beginning of this approach. we will continue to pursue hackers affiliated with nation states or terrorist organizations, and when we find you, we will use every tool at our disposal to hold you to account. that means more public actions. it means more charges. it means more sanctions.
it means every tool that the government can bring to bear to hold national cybersecurity hackers accountable. thank you. i'll turn it over to the attorney general for questions. >> attorney general, we know the brussels attackers were -- are you concerned that isis may target financial facilities in the u.s.? how prepared are we against cyber attacks? ms. lynch: this threat is of great concern to us. we're constantly working with our partners, both in the private industry and in local governments to relay information when we learn of issues or threats and also to make sure they have the most recent information about other hacking activities so they can protect themselves. at this point, you know, we think this case speaks for itself in terms of these actors. obviously we remain vigilant in the future against not just dams but all of our infrastructure. it is indeed a serious concern for us and we think this is another example in which the public-private partnership is really key.
>> attorney general, also director comey they often say attribution is incredibly difficult in these cyberattacks. can you talk a little bit and give us more detail how you were able to trace these actors back to iran? ms. lynch: i can't give you specifics on that because it would go into a lot of the investigative techniques we used. but what i can do is echo what you heard from this podium today which is an important part of our cybersecurity practice is to identify the actors and to attribute them publicly when we can. we do this so they know that they cannot hide. a large part of a successful cybersecurity attack in the perpetrator's mind is in fact getting in and getting out without anyone knowing who is involved. this cloak is being repeatedly pulled away. i'll defer again to the director if he can give you further information but we don't get into a lot of specifics on that. do you want to yesterday anything? director comey: we want them to know we can but not now we can.
-- but not how we can. >> madam attorney general, what good is it to indict these actors if they are not likely to be extradited? further on that, have you seen any tangible effects from the indictment two years ago now into the five chinese military? ms. lynch: well, with respect to these or any defendants whom we indict who are currently fugitives, our view is fugitives don't remain that way forever. we have a long history reaching out and working with countries where individuals may land and extraditing them and we also have a long history in keeping charges alive and in fact bringing people to the u.s. for justice. so, again, because they're not here now does not mean we will never get them. we do not let that be a barrier to bringing the charges, particularly where it is here. it is so important to let the world know we are aware of their actions. and your question about the five -- >> two years ago indicting chinese military hackers, again, people abroad, have with you
-- have we seen any tangible effects on that indictment? ms. lynch: well, i think that -- i think there is a whole of government approach to this and i think we have actually seen some significant changes in our interactions with the chinese government in terms of cybersecurity norms and in terms of the way in which they have come to agreement with the u.s. on the parameters of how countries should use cyberactivity with each other. but as we said before, this is the beginning. this is a very important arsenal in our cybersecurity. >> madam attorney general, f.b.i. director comey, any signs that they have ties to people inside the united states first? secondly, how concerning is it hackers overseas were rooting around in the infrastructure of something like a dam which could in the future have the kind of damage that we're talking about here? ms. lynch: well, i think whenever you're talking about infrastructure, be it a dam, be it a highway system, be it an electrical grid, we obviously
have grave concern as to the ability to affect millions of people quickly. certainly it's very similar to the concern we have, however, with the -- with the attempted impact here on the financial system. as we saw, locking people out of online access to accounts is incredibly disruptive. the work required by companies to remediate that is incredibly expensive. literally tens of millions of dollars. so our concern has always been with cyberissues, and one of the reasons why cybersecurity is such a priority for this administration, for this department is because we are in a world where with literally the stroke of a mouse or the click of a computer pad, damage can be unleashed much, much greater, at a much greater level than an individual can perpetrate alone. however, this is something we're focused on and we're actively looking to prevent. with respect to your question on brussels, as you know, this is an investigation conducted by the belgian authorities.
we're offering all assistance but it is their investigation. it is simply too early at this point to tell, certainly to provide information on the extra european links of the individuals at this point. i'll see if, jim, did you want to add anything? >> what assistance have you provided to european investigators? or if they asked for, have you provided anything? we're offering all assistance but it is their investigation. it is simply too early at this and is there any sense this attack was brought by isis or an inspirational act like the one in san bernardino? ms. lynch: well, again, we're at the early stages of this investigation, and we are providing assistance. the f.b.i. has offered assistance. certainly d.o.j. through our legal attaches have offered assistance. and we stand ready to provide them with that. we are at the very, very early stages of this, however, and it is being conducted by the belgian authorities. we respect their investigation. we are in a supporting role here and it's just simply too early to provide that kind of information for you. i'm sorry i can't give you more insight into that.
>> in terms of attribution, can you say beyond these seven individuals you have indicted whether you believe this -- these attacks were directed by the irgc or by the iranian government? in terms of the long memory and powerful message being sent here, would you say this message more powerful or the message from january when i believe clemency, pardons were given to seven iranians as part of u.s. and iran, would you say those actions send a more powerful message? or the indictment you announced today to the fugitives? ms. lynch: i think if you are a computer hacker sitting overseas in whatever country you've chosen to hide in, this indictment sends a powerful message that the full force of the u.s. government will come after you should you seek to attack our infrastructure, our financial institutions or our people. that's the strong message of today's charges. >> and what about the attributions of the iranian government? ms. lynch: well, the indictment as set forth, these individuals work for two separate security
companies and those companies and these individuals themselves definitely have ties, as alleged, to the irgc. beyond that i'm not going to comment on facts that may come out at trial or facts that aren't set forth in the pleadings. >> well, i understand the investigation goes on in brussels. the fact of the attacker well-known. has it caused you, the f.b.i. to rethink american security based on the facilities that were attacked there? does this give you any second thoughts how american security should be changed? ms. lynch: we are always looking at american security, both in the absence of an attack and certainly following something like what occurred in brussels or in paris several months earlier. we're always looking at whether or not it shows any vulnerabilities in the american system, and we're always looking to make sure we shore them up as best we can. >> what have you concluded? ms. lynch: certainly at this point, as i indicated before, we don't have a specific credible
threat against the homeland, but that does not mean we are not being vigilant in terms of reviewing cases that are already open, investigations that are already open and looking to see these issues and how it can affect the u.s. as we said before, this is the cancer that is isil is a growing threat that is currently looking at europe. they seem to be focused on europe, france, belgium and the like, but certainly we've seen individuals here who have chosen to become inspired by that type of terrorist thinking and have chosen to act on their own. that is also a concern of ours, and so we remain vigilant in that regard as well. as you know, we also have a very active program in prosecuting those individuals who seek to travel overseas to join the islamic state. we have prosecuted approximately 80 individuals to date, and we continue those vigorous investigations and prosecutions. >> yes, thank you. general lynch and f.b.i. director comey there's been a lot of commentary, a lot of reporting over the last three, four days with respect to the
justice department and f.b.i. filing in the case involving the san bernardino phone and apple, whether the u.s. government actually exhausted all authorities and all opportunities to exploit that phone before seeking apple to help you do it. can you describe how you came to understand there were offers of outside help and whether that outside help is vary bearing any fruit at this time? ms. lynch: as we review the case, the san bernardino case is a matter where we're trying to exhaust all investigative tools to find any information or evidence that will lead to insights or information about those individuals who perpetrate that had deadly terrorist attack in san bernardino. and in the course of that, we have focused on a number of electronic devices, in particular the phone of syed if farook, have
requested apple's assistance in that regard and when they certainly indicated they would not provide that assistance, we went to court to obtain that assistance. in every investigation we did not stop there. certainly at the time we did not have any further avenues of evidence or recourse and we still may not. we don't know if the individuals or third parties who've come forward and offered assistance have in fact offered us a viable method for obtaining what evidence may be on that phone. so we are at this time hopeful that that is the case. it is always been our goal to extract the information that may be on that phone and determine what information or evidence that may give us about this deadly attack. and if we can do that, we will do that. but at this point, it's really too early to say how that's going to work out. we're hopeful but we don't know how it's going to resolve itself. jim, did you want to add anything? director comey: i like these press conferences where i don't have to talk. the only thing i'd add to that we tried everything we can think of.
asked everybody we thought might be able to help inside and outside the government before bringing a litigation in san bernardino and we said that in our papers in san bernardino. the attorney general and i said it publicly. i said it under oath in congress so it's true. but what has happened is the attention that's been drawn to this issue by the litigation, by the controversies that surrounded it, has stimulated a marketplace of creative people all around the world to try to come up with ideas. lots of folks have come to us with potential ideas. it looks like we now have one that may work out. we're optimistic and we'll see. but the notion that we said that we had no alternatives without having tried to exhaust all alternatives is silly. we did everything we could before bringing litigation. now people have come from all
over the globe with suggestions and we're going to see whether that works, because the goal is, was and always will be to try to investigate a terrorist attack in a competent way. >> in terms of the isis front. are you sort of seeing perhaps where isis is getting a little more organized better at organizing these attacks in brussels, is there concern they're getting better at it, more experience, better at recruiting people, better organizing these kinds of attacks? director comey: i don't think i give this group of savages credit for getting better. we worry here in the states about people being radicalized, responding to the poison. as we talked for almost three years now, we were worried about anybody on the globe to travel to syria, to the so-called caliphate, get the worst kind of training and flow back out. that's especially a problem in europe. so this is a manifestation of that problem. i don't think it reflects greater skill or organization on isil's part. >> director comey, may i follow-up with director comey?